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GUIDING PRINCIPLES CHECKLIST

for Evaluating Evaluations


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based on the 2004 Guiding Principles for Evaluators

Checklist Developers: Daniel L. Stufflebeam, Leslie Goodyear, Jules Marquart, Elmima Johnson
September 19, 2005

DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT


This checklist is designed to help evaluators apply the American Evaluation Association’s Guiding Principles for
Evaluators in formative and summative metaevaluations. The checklist’s contents generally adhere to and in some
cases are taken verbatim from the Guiding Principles. Rewriting and/or expansion of the language in the Principles
were done to enhance concreteness and systematic application. This checklist is a revision of the previous 2001
version.2Any distortions of material drawn from the Principles is unintentional and the checklist developers’
responsibility. Otherwise, credit for the content underlying the checklist belongs to the AEA task force members
who developed the 1995 version of the Principles and the 2004 revision.3 This checklist was developed pursuant to
a request from the 2005 AEA Ethics Committee. However, the American Evaluation Association was not asked to
endorse this checklist, and no claim is made as to the Association’s judgment of the checklist. The developers
intend that this checklist be used to facilitate use of the Guiding Principles toward the aim of producing sound
evaluations.
While the Guiding Principles were developed to guide and assess the services of evaluators, they are also
advocated for use in evaluating individual evaluations. The American Journal of Evaluation provides space for
publishing critiques and comments on previously completed evaluation studies. Contributing “meta-evaluators” are
asked to “ . . . critique the studies, by using wherever possible the existing standards and guidelines published by
AEA (the ‘guiding principles’) and the Joint Committee (the ‘evaluation standards’) . . . .” This checklist is offered
as a tool to assist metaevaluators to apply the Principles to actual studies.
The checklist is not designed as a stand-alone device for reporting metaevaluation findings. Essentially, it
is a format for a metaevaluator’s database. It provides the metaevaluator a means to systematically apply the
Guiding Principles’ concepts in compiling, organizing, analyzing, and formatting findings. It is intended that
metaevaluators use the results from applying the checklist to prepare and deliver user-friendly reports. However,
where appropriate, the completed checklist can be included in the metaevaluation’s technical appendix.
AJE’s advice to ground metaevaluations in both the “guiding principles” and the “evaluation standards”
should be underscored. The Guiding Principles and the Joint Committee (1994) Program Evaluation Standards are
compatible; both have limitations; and both have valuable, unique qualities. Evaluators should employ them as
complementary codes and, as appropriate, use them in concert. The “guiding principles” provide only general,
although vital advice (systematic inquiry, competence, integrity/honesty, respect for people, responsibilities for
general and public welfare) to evaluators for delivering ethical and competent service throughout their careers.
They do not include details for applying the general career-oriented principles to individual studies. While the
Standards focus exclusively on educational evaluations, they present detailed criteria for assessing an evaluation’s
utility, feasibility, propriety, and accuracy. Experience and studies have shown that the Standards can be usefully
adapted for assessing and guiding evaluations outside the education field. Checklists for applying the Standards are
available at <www.wmich.edu/evalctr/checklists>.

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Application Suggestions

1. As a preliminary step, characterize the target evaluation. Use Form 1 to describe the following items related to the
target evaluation: client, financial sponsor, cost of the target evaluation, time frame for the target evaluation,
evaluator(s), stakeholder groups, program or other object evaluated, purpose(s) of the target evaluation, key questions,
methodology, reports, apparent strengths, and apparent weaknesses. Using the same form, summarize the target
evaluation in a succinct paragraph.
2. Characterize the metaevaluation. Use Form 2 to describe the following items related to the metaevaluation: title of the
metaevaluation; client; financial sponsor (if different from the client); other audiences; purpose(s); metaevaluation
services/reports to be provided; metaevaluative questions; methods; schedule; metaevaluator(s); their relationship(s),
if any, to the target evaluation; their relationship(s), if any, to the object of the target evaluation; and main contractual
agreements.
3. Collect and study information needed to judge the evaluation. Applicable documents may include contracts, proposals,
interim and final reports, newspaper articles, meeting minutes, correspondence, press releases, file notes, court
affidavits and depositions, publications, etc. Other sources could include notes from telephone interviews and site
visits. One might also provide selected stakeholders a copy of this checklist and invite them to submit information
needed to arrive at the noted judgments. Use Form 3 to make a convenient list of the employed sources.
4a. Work through the checkpoints for each of the 5 principles (Forms 4, 7, 10, 13, and 16). Determine whether each
checkpoint is applicable to the particular evaluation. Write NA on the lines to the left of the nonapplicable
checkpoints. For the remaining checkpoints, place a plus (+), minus (-), or question mark (?) on the lines to the left of
the applicable checkpoints. (A + means an evaluation met the checkpoint’s intent, and a - means the evaluation failed
to meet the checkpoint’s intent.) Base your + and - conclusions on your judgment of whether the evaluation met the
checkpoint’s intent. Place a ? in the box if you have insufficient information to reach a judgment. Place a * in the
indicated space under the column marked minimum requirement for any item you judge to be essential for passing the
particular principle. As feasible, collect additional information needed to reach judgments about the criteria for which
too little information is on hand.
4b. In the spaces provided (on Forms 4, 7, 10, 13, and 16), write the identifying number of each document (including
applicable page numbers) or other information source (including comments as appropriate) you used to help make a
judgment about each checkpoint.
4c. In the spaces provided at the right side of Forms 4, 7, 10, 13, and 16, record noteworthy rationales for your judgments
(of +, -, NA, ?, and *).
5. When feasible (as defined below), rate the target evaluation on each principle by following the instructions for
quantitative analysis that appear following each set of checkpoints (Forms 5, 8, 11, 14, and 17). Do this for each
principle only if you have been able to assign + or - ratings as follows: 8 of the 9 checkpoints for Principle A, 6 of the
7 checkpoints for Principle B, 12 of the 21 checkpoints for Principle C, 10 of the 16 checkpoints for Principle D, and
10 of the 13 checkpoints for Principle E. A quantitative analysis result would be dubious for any principle or all of
them collectively to the extent that many checkpoints have to be marked NA or ?. A quantitative analysis should not
be done for any principle for which a checkpoint marked * (minimum requirement) is not met and should not be done
overall if any checkpoint marked * is not met. Rate adherence to any principle Poor if an item marked * (minimum
requirement) was not met. Consider the cut points given for making judgments of Poor, Marginal, Moderate, Good,
and Excellent as general guides. Revise the cut points as you deem appropriate and provide your rationale for the
revised cut points.
6. Provide an overall narrative assessment of the evaluation’s satisfaction of each principle and overall in the spaces
provided for qualitative analysis following each set of checkpoints (Forms 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, and 21).
7. Assess the target evaluation’s sufficiency of documentation on Form 19. An evaluation should be judged Poor for
any principle or overall if it contains insufficient credible evidence to support its conclusions.
8. If feasible, assign an overall rating of the target evaluation, across all 5 principles, by following the instructions for an
overall quantitative analysis that appear in Form 20. This will be feasible only if you have been able—under the
decision rules in 5 above—to perform quantitative analyses on all 5 principles in Forms 5, 8, 11, 14, and 17 and only
if the evaluation has passed all the minimum requirement (*) items.

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9. In the qualitative analysis form (21), briefly present your overall evaluation of the target evaluation. Do this by
thoughtfully considering and synthesizing all of the information and judgments that you recorded in Forms 1 through
20.
10. Caveat: Temper your metaevaluation conclusions according to the sufficiency of evidence pertaining to the
applicable checkpoints. Conclusions concerning any or all of the Guiding Principles should be tentative to the extent
that needed evidence is lacking. However, as a general rule, evaluation comments on the target evaluation’s
sufficiency of documentation are appropriate. In many metaevaluations it will not be feasible to perform sensible
quantitative analyses. The qualitative analyses that are always appropriate should clearly state limitations regarding
such matters as the sufficiency of evidence and the feasibility of rating the evaluation by quantitative means.
11. Decide how to report the information in the completed checklist. Form 22 may be used to present your bottom-line
judgments of the evaluation’s satisfaction of each guiding principle. Sometimes the metaevaluator will employ the
completed checklist only as a working document for preparing a summative evaluation report, such as an article for
AJE. In such cases, the metaevaluator might appropriately retain and not share the completed checklist; he or she
would simply use it to produce other, more user-friendly communications for clients and other stakeholders.
However, sometimes it will be helpful to include the completed checklist in a technical appendix to the
metaevaluation report. Determinations on these matters should be guided by considerations of how best to inform the
audience and secure its interest in and use of the findings and how best to assure the metaevaluation’s validity,
credibility, and accountability.
12. If the metaevaluators decide to share the completed checklist, they may use Form 23 to sign and date the checklist,
thereby attesting to their assessment of the target evaluation.

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Form 1: Characterization of the Target Evaluation
Use this form to record basic information and initial impressions concerning the target evaluation.
Title of the target evaluation:

Client of the target evaluation:

Financial sponsor of the target evaluation (if different from the client):

Estimated Cost of the target evaluation:

Time frame for the target evaluation (e.g., from initial contract date to final report deadline):

Evaluator(s):

Stakeholder groups:

Program or other object of the target evaluation:

Purpose(s) of the target evaluation (e.g., bettering products, personnel, programs, organizations, governments, consumers and
the public interest; contributing to informed decision making and more enlightened change; precipitating needed change;
empowering all stakeholders by collecting data from them and engaging them in the evaluation process; and generating new
insights):

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Key evaluative questions:

Main methods:

Key reports to be provided by those in charge of the target evaluation:

Apparent strengths of the target evaluation:

Apparent weaknesses of the target evaluation:

Brief narrative description of the target evaluation:

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Form 2: Key Points Regarding the Metaevaluation
Use this form to record basic information about the metaevaluation.
Title of the metaevaluation:

Client of the metaevaluation:

Financial sponsor of the metaevaluation (if different from the client):

Other audiences for the metaevaluation:

Purpose(s) of the metaevaluation (e.g., formative and/or summative):

Key metaevaluation services/reports to be provided:

Key metaevaluative questions:

Main metaevaluation methods:

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Schedule and due dates for the metaevaluation:

Title and date of the metaevaluation contract:

Metaevaluator(s):
Name:
Title:
Affiliation:

Relationship(s), if any, of the metaevaluator(s) to the target evaluation:

Relationship(s), if any, of the metaevaluator(s) to the object of the target evaluation:

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Form 3: Main Documents and Other Information Sources Referenced in Judging the Target Evaluation
Rarely can a metaevaluator succeed in producing a substantive, defensible evaluation of an evaluation by simply reading the
final evaluation report. In undertaking a metaevaluation it is important to collect a range of relevant documents and, as
feasible, to interview stakeholders. The information used to form metaevaluative judgments is often found in documents
such as contracts, proposals, evaluation instruments, correspondence, interim and final reports, technical appendices,
newspaper articles, meeting minutes, correspondence, press releases, file notes, publications, etc. Beyond obtaining and
studying such documents, metaevaluators should consider conducting site visits and/or telephone interviews to obtain
information and judgments from the evaluation’s stakeholders. Such stakeholders include the evaluator, client, program
staff, program beneficiaries, and others. It can also be useful to provide selected stakeholders with copies of this checklist
and invite them to provide needed information that is otherwise unavailable. Explicitly listing and systematically
referencing the documents and other sources of information on which a metaevaluation is based is not always necessary,
especially in the case of small scale, formative metaevaluations. However, such documentation can be invaluable when
there is a clear need to convince external audiences that the provided metaevaluation judgments are valid and credible.

Instructions: When documenting the basis for judgments, number each source of information used to judge the target
evaluation from 1 - n. Provide a label for each document or other source of information below to the right of the pertinent
identification number. (When you record your judgments for each checkpoint—on Forms 4, 7, 10, 13, and 16—in the
provided spaces you may record the identification number, relevant page numbers (of referenced documents), and
comments concerning other information sources you used to reach your judgments.)

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

11.

12.

13.

14.

15.

16.

17.

18.

Insert additional pages of references, as needed.

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Form 4: Guiding Principle A—SYSTEMATIC INQUIRY
For each checkpoint, assign a NA, +, -, or ?
To meet the requirements for Provide the Place a * Provide noteworthy rationales for your
conducting SYSTEMATIC, identification below for any judgments of NA, +, -, or ?.
DATA-BASED INQUIRY, the number(s) of checkpoint
evaluators did: information that you judge
sources (from the to be a
list on Form 3) minimum
you used to reach requirement,
your judgment. i.e., essential
Provide pertinent for meeting
page numbers for this principle
the referenced whether or
documents and not all other
comments, as checkpoints
appropriate for the are met.
other sources.

JUDGMENT SOURCE MINIMUM RATIONALE


REQUIREM
ENT
CHECK-
POINTS (*)

A.1

Meet the highest technical


standards for quantitative
methods—so as to obtain
and report accurate, credible
information. Key examples
are the APA Standards for
Educational and
Psychological Testing and
the Accuracy section of the
Joint Committee Program
Evaluation Standards.
A.2

Meet the highest technical


standards for qualitative
methods—so as to obtain
and report accurate, credible
information. The Accuracy
section of the Joint
Committee Program
Evaluation Standards is
applicable here.

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A.3

Engage the client in exploring


the shortcomings and
strengths of a reasonable
range of potential evaluation
questions

A.4

Engage an appropriate range


of stakeholders in exploring
the shortcomings and
strengths of a reasonable
range of potential evaluation
questions

A.5

Engage the client in


considering shortcomings
and strengths of the
evaluation approaches and
methods for answering the
agreed upon evaluation

A.6
____Clearly and fully inform the
client and stakeholder about all
aspects of the evaluation, from its
initial conceptualization to the
eventual use of findings.

A.7

Report in sufficient detail the


employed approach(es) and
methods to allow others to
understand, interpret, and
critique the evaluation
process and findings

A.8
In reporting, make clear the
limitations of the evaluation
process and findings

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A.9
In communicating evaluation
methods and approaches,
discuss in a contextually
appropriate way those
values, assumptions,
theories, methods, analyses,
results, and analyses
significantly affecting the
interpretation of the
evaluative findings

Form 5: Quantitative Analysis for Guiding Principle A–SYSTEMATIC INQUIRY


Caveat: It is problematic to do any kind of precise quantitative analysis of ratings drawn from the Guiding Principles and this checklist,
because the relative importance of different checkpoints can vary across evaluations, some checkpoints will not be applicable in given
evaluations, and the authors of the Guiding Principles provided considerably less detail for some principles than others. There is thus no
basis for defining one set of cut scores to divide such criterial concepts as Poor, Marginal, Moderate, Good, and Excellent. The following
quantitative analysis procedure is provided only as a rough guide and illustration for exploring the quantitative rating matter. This
procedure may be useful in some cases, but not others. Users are advised to apply the procedure with caution and where it clearly would
be misleading not to apply it at all.

To apply this procedure to quantify the target evaluation’s merit in fulfilling Principle A, carry out the following steps and record your
answer in the space at the right of each step.

Procedure Answer

1. Proceed with this analysis only if all checkpoints for this principle marked * as a minimum
requirement have been met (marked +).

2. Determine the number of applicable indicators associated with Principle A by subtracting the number
of Principle A indicators marked NA from the total number of Principle A indicators (9).

3. If the number of indicators marked + or - is less than 8, abort the quantitative analysis and proceed to
the qualitative analysis.

4. Assess whether the following cut scores are acceptable: and defensible for interpreting the value Acceptable
meaning of the score for Principle A. Indicate your decision by placing a checkmark in the
appropriate space to the right. Write the rationale for your decision on this matter in the space to the Not Acceptable
right.
• for all 9 checkpoints: [0-4: Poor, 5: Marginal, 6: Moderate, 7: Good, 8 or 9: Excellent]4 Rationale:
• for 8 applicable checkpoints: [0-4: Poor, 5: Marginal, 6: Moderate, 7: Good, 8: Excellent

5. Determine the rating for the evaluation on Principle A by summing the number of principles met and
adding a 0. For example, a score of 8 would receive a rating of 80.

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6. If you disagree with the cut scores in 4 above, provide the ones you will use here. In either case, Rating: ____
record your rating and quality designation (poor, marginal, moderate, good, or excellent) of the evaluation
in the space at the right. Also, provide your rationale for the new cut scores below: Quality Designation:

Rationale:

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Form 6: Qualitative Summary for Guiding Principle A—SYSTEMATIC INQUIRY
Write your overall assessment of the evaluation’s compliance with the SYSTEMATIC INQUIRY Principle below.

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Form 7: Guiding Principle B—COMPETENCE
For each checkpoint, assign a NA, +, -, or ?
To meet the requirements to Provide the Place a * below for Provide noteworthy rationales for your
provide COMPETENT identification any checkpoint that judgments of NA, +, -, or ?.
PERFORMANCE to number(s) and you judge to be a
stakeholders, the evaluator or page numbers of minimum
evaluation team did: any documents requirement, i.e.,
(from the list on essential for
Form 3) you used meeting this
to reach your principle.
judgment.

JUDGMENT SOURCE MINIMUM RATIONALE


REQUIREMENT
CHECKPOINTS
(*)

B.1

Possess the education,


abilities, skills, and
experience appropriate to
competently and successfully
carry out the proposed
evaluation tasks.

B.2

Demonstrate a sufficient level


of cultural competence to
ensure recognition, accurate
interpretation, and respect for
diversity.

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B.3
___As appropriate, demonstrate
cultural competence by seeking
awareness of their own
culturally-based assumptions,
their understanding of the
worldviews of culturally-
different participants and
stakeholders in the
evaluation, and the use of
appropriate evaluation
strategies and skills in
working with culturally
different groups. (Diversity
may be in terms of race,
ethnicity, gender, religion,
socio-economics, or other
factors pertinent to the
evaluation context.)

B.4

Practice within the limits of


their professional training
and competence and, as
feasible, would have
declined an evaluation
assignment outside those
limits
B.5
___In the occasion of being
unable to decline an
evaluation assignment
transcending one’s
capabilities, make clear to
appropriate parties any
potential significant
limitations of the evaluation
B.6
___Make every effort to gain the
competence required to
successfully conduct the
evaluation directly or through
the assistance of other
appropriately qualified
evaluators

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B.7
Evidence a history of
continually seeking to
maintain and improve
evaluation competence—
through such means as
formal coursework and
workshops, self-study,
evaluations of one’s own
practice, and learning from
the practices of other
evaluators--in order to
deliver the highest level of
evaluation service.

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Form 8: Quantitative Analysis for Guiding Principle B–COMPETENCE
Caveat: It is problematic to do any kind of precise quantitative analysis of ratings drawn from the Guiding Principles and this checklist,
because the relative importance of different checkpoints can vary across evaluations, some checkpoints will not be applicable in given
evaluations, and the authors of the Guiding Principles provided considerably less detail for some principles than others. There is thus no
clear basis for defining one set of cut scores to divide such criterial concepts as Poor, Marginal, Moderate, Good, and Excellent. The
following quantitative analysis procedures is provided only as a rough guide for exploring the quantitative rating matter. This procedure
may be quite useful in some cases, but not in others. Users are advised to use the procedure with caution and where it clearly would be
misleading not to use it at all.

To employ this procedure to quantify the target evaluation’s merit in fulfilling Principle B, carry out the following steps and record your
answer in the space at the right of each step.

1. Proceed with this analysis only if all checkpoints for this principle marked * as a minimum
requirement have been met (marked +).

2. Determine the number of applicable indicators associated with Principle B by subtracting the number
of Principle B indicators marked NA from the total number of Principle B indicators (7).

3. If the number of indicators marked + or - is less than 6, abort the quantitative analysis and proceed to
the qualitative analysis.

4. Assess whether the following cut scores are acceptable: and defensible for interpreting the value Acceptable
meaning of the score for Principle B. Indicate your decision by placing a checkmark in the
appropriate space to the right. Write the rationale for your decision on this matter in the space to the Not Acceptable
right.
• for all 7 checkpoints: [0-2: Poor, 3: Marginal, 4: Moderate, 5: Good, 6 or 7: Excellent Rationale:
• for 6 applicable checkpoints: [0-3: Poor, 4: Marginal to: Moderate, 5: Good, 6: Excellent ]

5. Determine the rating for the evaluation on Principle A by summing the number of principles met and
adding a 0. For example, a score of 7 would receive a rating of 70.

6. If you disagree with the cut scores in 4 above, provide the ones you will use here. In either case, Rating: _
record your rating and quality designation (poor, marginal, moderate, good, or excellent) of the
evaluation in the space at the right. Also, provide your rationale for the new cut scores below.. Quality Designation:

Rationale:

17
Form 9: Qualitative Summary for Guiding Principle B—COMPETENCE
Write your overall assessment of the evaluation’s compliance with the COMPETENCE Principle below.

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Form 10: Guiding Principle C—INTEGRITY/HONESTY
For each checkpoint, assign a NA, +, -, or ?

To ensure the INTEGRITY Provide the Place a * below for Provide noteworthy rationales for your
and HONESTY of their identification any checkpoint that judgments of NA, +, -, or ?.
own behavior and the number(s) and page you judge to be a
entire evaluation process, numbers of any minimum
the evaluator or evaluators documents (from the requirement, i.e.,
did: list on Form 3) you essential for meeting
used to reach your this principle.
judgment.

JUDGMENT SOURCE MINIMUM RATIONALE


REQUIREMENT
CHECKPOINTS (*)

C.1
___Take the initiative in
negotiating all
aspects of the
evaluation with clients
and representative
stakeholders
C.2
___Negotiate honestly
with clients and
relevant stakeholders
concerning the
evaluation tasks
C.3
___Negotiate honestly
with clients and
representative
stakeholders
concerning the
limitations of the
selected methods
C.4
___Negotiate honestly
with clients and
representative
stakeholders
concerning the scope
of results likely to be
obtained

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C.5
___Negotiate honestly
with clients and
representative
stakeholders
concerning
appropriate uses of
the evaluation’s data
C.6
___Negotiate honestly
with clients and
relevant stakeholders
concerning the costs
of the evaluation
C.7
___As appropriate,
forewarn the client
and relevant
stakeholders of any
contemplated
procedures or
activities that likely
would produce
misleading
evaluative
information or
conclusions
C.8
___Make appropriate
efforts to resolve
concerns about any
procedures or
activities that likely
would produce
misleading evaluative
information or
conclusions
C.9
___As feasible and
appropriate decline
to conduct the
evaluation if
important concerns
cannot be resolved

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C.10
___If declining a
problematic
assignment was not
feasible, consult
colleagues or
representative
stakeholders about
other proper ways to
proceed, such as
discussions at a higher
level, a dissenting
statement, or refusal
to sign the final
document
C.11
___Prior to accepting the
evaluation
assignment, disclose
any real or apparent
conflicts of interest
with their role as
evaluator
C.12
___In proceeding with the
evaluation, report
clearly any
conflicts of interest
they had and how
these were addressed
C.13
___Explicate their own,
their clients’, and
other stakeholders’
interests and values
concerning the
conduct and
outcomes of the
evaluation

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C.14
___Before changing the
negotiated
evaluation plans in
ways to significantly
affect the scope and
likely results of the
evaluation, inform,
as appropriate, the
client and other
important
stakeholders in a
timely fashion of
the changes and
their likely impact
C.15
___Record, explain, and
report all changes
made in the
originally negotiated
plans
C.16
___Provide the clients and
stakeholders with
valid
representations of
the evaluation
procedures
C.17
___Provide the clients and
stakeholders with
valid
representations of
the evaluation data
and findings
C.19
___Within reasonable
limits, take steps to
prevent or correct
misuse of their
work by others
C.20
___Disclose all sources of
financial support
for the evaluation

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C.21
___Disclose the source of
the request for the
evaluation

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Form 11: Quantitative Analysis for Guiding Principle C–INTEGRITY AND HONESTY
Caveat: It is problematic to do any kind of precise quantitative analysis of ratings drawn from the Guiding Principles and this checklist,
because the importance and applicability of checkpoints varies for different evaluations, some checkpoints will not be applicable in given
evaluations, and there is no one consistent basis for setting cut scores to divide the criterial concepts of Poor, Marginal, Moderate, Good,
and Excellent. The following quantitative analysis procedures is provided only as a rough guide for exploring the quantitative rating
matter. This procedure may be useful in some cases, but not in others. Users are advised to apply the procedure with caution and where it
clearly would be misleading not to apply it at all.

To employ this procedure to quantify the target evaluation’s merit in fulfilling Principle C, carry out the following steps and record your
answer in the space at the right of each step.

2. Proceed with this analysis only if all checkpoints for this principle marked * as a minimum
requirement have been met (marked +).

2. Determine the number of applicable indicators associated with Principle C by subtracting the
number of Principle C indicators marked NA from the total number of Principle C indicators (16).

3. If the number of indicators marked + or - is less than 12, abort the quantitative analysis and
proceed to the qualitative analysis.

4. Determine the percent of Principle C applicable indicators that the target evaluation passed by
dividing the number of indicators marked with a plus (+) by the number of indicators not marked
NA.

5. Determine the score for Principle C by multiplying the percent of Principle C applicable indicators
marked with a + by 100.

6. Assess whether the following cut scores [0-39: Poor, 40-59: Marginal, 60-79: Moderate, 80-92: ___Acceptable
Good, 93-100: Excellent] are acceptable and defensible for interpreting the value meaning of the
score for Principle C. Indicate your decision by placing a checkmark in the appropriate space to ___Not Acceptable
the right. Write your rationale for your decision on this matter below.

7. If you disagree with the cut scores in 6 above, provide the ones you will use here. In either case Rating:
record the rating and quality designation (poor, marginal, moderate, good, or excellent) of the
evaluation in the space at the right. Also, provide your rationale for the new cut scores below.
Quality Designation:

Rationale:

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Form 12: Qualitative Summary for Guiding Principle C–INTEGRITY/HONESTY
Write your overall assessment of the evaluation’s compliance with the INTEGRITY/HONESTY Principle below.

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Form 13: Guiding Principle D—RESPECT FOR PEOPLE
For each checkpoint, assign a NA, +, -, or ?
To meet the requirements for Provide the Place a * below for Provide noteworthy rationales for your
RESPECTING THE identification any checkpoint that judgments of NA, +, -, or ?.
SECURITY, DIGNITY, AND number(s) and you judge to be a
SELF-WORTH OF THE page numbers minimum
EVALUATION’S of any requirement, i.e.,
RESPONDENTS, CLIENTS, documents essential for
AND OTHER EVALUATION (from the list meeting this
STAKEHOLDERS, the on Form 3) principle.
evaluator or evaluators did: you used to
reach your
judgment.

JUDGMENT SOURCE MINIMUM RATIONALE


REQUIREMENT
CHECKPOINTS
(*)

D.1
___Develop a comprehensive
understanding of the
evaluation’s contextual
elements, including, as
appropriate, geographic
location, timing, political
and social climate,
economic conditions, and
other relevant dynamics in
progress at the same time
D.2

Abide by current
professional ethics, standards,
and regulations regarding risks,
harms, and burdens that might
befall participants in the
evaluation

D.3

___ Abide by current


professional ethics,
standards, and regulations
regarding informed
consent of evaluation
participants

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D.4

___Abide by current
professional ethics,
standards, and regulations
regarding informing
participants and clients
about the scope and limits
of confidentiality

D.5
___In the event of having to state
negative or critical
conclusions that could harm
client or stakeholder
interests, seek in
appropriate ways to
maximize the benefits and
reduce any unnecessary
harms that might occur

D.6
___In seeking to maximize the
benefits and reduce any
unnecessary harms, guard
against compromising the
evaluation’s integrity

D.7
___As appropriate, act in
accordance with justified
conclusions that the
benefits from doing the
evaluation or in
performing certain
evaluation procedures
should be foregone
because of the risks and
harms

27
D.8

To the extent possible,


seriously consider during
the negotiation the
evaluation’s possible
risks and harms and what
to do about them

D.9

Conduct the evaluation and


communicate the results in
a way that clearly respects
each stakeholder’s
dignity and self-worth

D.10

As feasible, act to assure


that evaluation
participants benefit in
return

D.11
___Assure that evaluation
participants had full
knowledge of and
opportunity to obtain
any benefits of the
evaluation

D.12
___Assure that program
participants were
informed that their
eligibility to receive
services did not hinge on
their participation in the
evaluation

28
D.13

Seek to ensure that those


asked to contribute data
and/or incur risks do so
willingly

D.14

Become acquainted with


and respect differences
among participants,
including their culture,
religion, gender, disability,
age, sexual orientation and
ethnicity

D.15

Take into account


participants’ differences
when planning,
conducting, analyzing, and
reporting the evaluation

D.16

Foster the evaluation’s


social equity by providing,
as appropriate, feedback
and other pertinent
benefits to the evaluation’s
contributors

29
Form 14: Quantitative Analysis for Guiding Principle D–RESPECT FOR PEOPLE
Caveat: It is problematic to do any kind of precise quantitative analysis of ratings drawn from the Guiding Principles and this checklist,
because some criteria are more important than others, many criteria will not be applicable in given evaluations, the importance and
applicability of checkpoints vary for different evaluations, and there is no clear basis for setting cut scores to divide the criterial concepts of
Poor, Marginal, Moderate, Good, and Excellent. The following quantitative analysis procedure is provided only as a rough guide for
exploring the quantitative rating matter. This procedure may be useful in some cases, but not in others. Users are advised to apply the
procedure with caution and where it clearly would be misleading not to apply it at all.

To employ this procedure to quantify the target evaluation’s merit in fulfilling Principle D, carry out the following steps and record your
answer in the space at the right of each step.

7. Proceed with this analysis only if all checkpoints for this principle marked * as a minimum requirement
have been met (marked +).

2. Determine the number of applicable indicators associated with Principle D by subtracting the number of
Principle D indicators marked NA from the total number of Principle D indicators (16).

3. If the number of indicators marked + or - is less than 10, abort the quantitative analysis and proceed to
the qualitative analysis.

4. Determine the percent of Principle D applicable indicators that the target evaluation passed by dividing
the number of indicators marked with a plus (+) by the number of indicators not marked NA.

5. Determine the score for Principle D by multiplying the percent of Principle D applicable indicators
marked with a + by 100.

6. Assess whether the following cut scores [0-39: Poor, 40-59: Marginal, 60-79: Moderate, 80-92: Good, Acceptable
93-100: Excellent] are acceptable and defensible for interpreting the value meaning of the score for
Principle D. Indicate your decision by placing a checkmark in the appropriate space to the right. Write Not Acceptable
your rationale for your decision on this matter here:

7. If you disagree with the cut scores in 6. above, provide the ones you will use here. In either case, Rating:
record your rating and quality designation (poor, marginal, moderate, good, or excellent) of the
evaluation in the space at the right:. Also, provide your rationale for the new cut scores below:
Quality Designation:

Rationale:

30
Form 15: Qualitative Summary for Guiding Principle D—RESPECT FOR PEOPLE
Write your overall assessment of the evaluation’s compliance with the RESPECT FOR PEOPLE Principle below.

31
Form 16: Guiding Principle E—RESPONSIBILITIES FOR GENERAL AND PUBLIC WELFARE
For each checkpoint, assign a NA, +, -, or ?
To articulate and take into Provide the Place a * below for Provide noteworthy rationales for your
account the diversity of general identification any checkpoint that judgments of NA, +, -, or ?.
and public interests and values number(s) and you judge to be a
that may be related to the page numbers minimum
evaluation, the evaluator or of any requirement, i.e.,
evaluators did: documents essential for
(from the list meeting this
on Form 3) principle.
you used to
reach your
judgment.

JUDGMENT SOURCE MINIMUM RATIONALE


REQUIREMENT
CHECKPOINTS
(*)

E.1

Present evaluation plans and


reports that include, as
appropriate, relevant
perspectives and interests
of the full range of
stakeholders

E.2

Consider not only the


immediate operations and
outcomes of the evaluand,
but also its broad
assumptions, implications,
and potential side effects

E.3

Follow the precepts of


freedom of information by
allowing all relevant
stakeholders access to
evaluative information in
forms that respect people
and honor promises of
confidentiality

32
E.4

As resources allow, actively


disseminate findings to
stakeholders

E.5

___ As appropriate, tailor


different reports to the
needs and interests of
different right-to-know
audiences
E.6

In tailoring reports for


specific audiences, include
all results that may bear on
their interests and refer to
any other tailored
communications to other
stakeholders

E.7

Report clearly and simply


so that clients and other
stakeholders could easily
understand the evaluation
process and results

E.7

Maintain an appropriate
balance between meeting
client needs and other needs

33
E.8

Effectively address
legitimate client needs
without compromising
ethical and methodological
principles

E.9

As needed, effectively and


ethically address any threats
to the evaluation’s integrity,
e.g., ones associated with
inappropriate client
requests or political
conflicts

E.10

As needed, forthrightly
identify and discuss
conflicts with the client and
stakeholders, resolve the
conflicts if possible, or, as
feasible, abort the
evaluation if a serious
conflict cannot be resolved

E.11

If a serious conflict could not


be resolved and the
evaluation could not be
terminated, make clear the
negative consequences for
the evaluation

34
E.12

In conducting the evaluation,


take all appropriate steps to
counter any clear threats,
associated with the
evaluation, to the public
interest and good

E. 13

Analyze and convey findings


in terms of the welfare of
society as a whole as well
as the interests of the client
and other relevant
stakeholder groups

35
Form 17: Quantitative Analysis for Guiding Principle E–GENERAL AND PUBLIC WELFARE
Caveat: It is problematic to do any kind of precise quantitative analysis of ratings drawn from the Guiding Principles and this checklist,
because some checkpoints are more important than others, many checklists will not be applicable in given evaluations, the checkpoints
vary in importance and applicability across evaluations, and there is no one basis for setting cut scores to divide the criterial concepts of
Poor, Marginal, Moderate, Good, and Excellent. The following quantitative analysis procedure is provided only as a rough guide for
exploring the quantitative rating matter. This procedure may be useful in some cases, but not others. Users are advised to apply the
procedure with caution and where it clearly would be misleading not to apply it at all.

To employ this procedure to quantify the target evaluation’s merit in fulfilling Principle A, carry out the following steps and record your
answer in the space at the right of each step.

1. Proceed with this analysis only if all checkpoints for this principle marked * as a minimum
requirement have been met (marked +).

2. Determine the number of applicable indicators associated with Principle E by subtracting the number
of Principle E indicators marked NA from the total number of Principle E indicators (13).

3. If the number of indicators marked + or - is less than 10, abort the quantitative analysis and proceed
to the qualitative analysis.

4. Determine the percent of Principle E applicable indicators that the target evaluation passed by
dividing the number of indicators marked with a plus (+) by the number of indicators not marked
NA.

5. Determine the score for Principle E by multiplying the percent of Principle E applicable indicators
marked with a + by 100.

6. Assess whether the following cut scores [0-39: Poor, 40-59: Marginal, 60-79: Moderate, 80-92: Good, Acceptable
93-100: Excellent] are acceptable and defensible for interpreting the value meaning of the score for
Principle E. Indicate your decision by placing a checkmark in the appropriate space to the right. Not Acceptable
Write your rationale for your decision on this matter here:

7. If you disagree with the cut scores in 6 above, provide the ones you will use here. In either case, Rating:
record the rating of the evaluation and quality designation (poor, marginal, moderate, good, or
excellent) in the space at the right. Also, provide your rationale for the new cut scores below:

Quality Designation:

Rationale:

36
Form 18: Qualitative Summary for Guiding Principle E—RESPONSIBILITIES FOR
GENERAL AND PUBLIC WELFARE
Write your overall assessment of the evaluation’s compliance with the RESPONSIBILITIES FOR GENERAL AND
PUBLIC WELFARE Principle below.

37
Form 19: Documentation
Provide evaluative comments on the target evaluation’s sufficiency of documentation.

38
Form 20: Summary Quantitative Evaluation of the Target Evaluation
Caveat: It is problematic to do any kind of precise quantitative analysis of ratings drawn from the Guiding Principles and this checklist,
because the relative importance of different checklists varies across different evaluations, many checkpoints will not be applicable in given
evaluations, and there is no single basis for setting cut scores that divide the criterial concepts of Poor, Marginal, Moderate, Good, and
Excellent. The following quantitative analysis procedure is provided only as a rough guide for exploring the quantitative rating matter.
This procedure may be useful in some cases, but not others. Users are advised to apply the procedure with caution and where it clearly
would be misleading not to apply it at all.

To apply this procedure to quantify the target evaluation’s merit in fulfilling all 5 AEA Guiding Principles, carry out the following steps
and, as appropriate, record your answers in the space at the right of each step.

1.___Proceed with this analysis only if you obtained ratings (in Forms 5, 8, 11, 14, and 17) for all 5
principles in accordance with the instructions given for those forms.

2___If the target evaluation rated Poor on any principle, judge the evaluation a failure regardless of its
ratings on the other principles.

3___If the target evaluation rated Marginal or higher on all 5 principles, determine the evaluation’s
overall score by summing the 5 scores and dividing by 5.

4___Assess whether the following cut scores [0-39: Poor, 40-59: Marginal, 60-79: Moderate, 80-92: Acceptable
8
Good, 93-100: Excellent] are acceptable and defensible for interpreting the value meaning of the
score for the overall evaluation. Indicate your decision by placing a checkmark in the appropriate Not Acceptable
space to the right. Write your rationale for your decision on this matter here:

8
The rationale for this set of cut scores is focused mainly on the top and bottom judgment categories.
Any evaluation that met less than 25 percent of checkpoints overall would provide a poor basis for decision making.
An evaluation that met 93 percent or more of the checkpoints would be excellent, so long as no checkpoint judged
to be a minimum requirement was failed. Meeting 80 - 92 percent of the checkpoints would seem to provide a
probably good basis for decision making, again assuming that no minimum requirement checkpoint was missed. An
evaluation that scored in the moderate range (meeting 60 - 79 percent of the checkpoints) would not be considered
good, but also not disastrous if no minimum requirement checkpoints were missed. Summative metaevaluations
should seek to credit evaluations that fall in the excellent range and discourage use of those that fall in the poor and
marginal ranges (0 - 59 percent of the checkpoints met). Formative metaevaluations should seek to help strengthen
especially those evaluations that fall in the moderate and good ranges.

39
5. If you disagree with the cut scores in 4. above, provide the ones you will use here. In either case, Overall Rating:
record the rating and quality designation (poor, marginal, moderate, good, or excellent) of the
evaluation in the space at the right. Also, provide your rationale for the new cut scores below:
Overall Quality Designation:

Rationale:

40
Form 21: Summary Qualitative Evaluation of the Target evaluation
Assess the target evaluation’s overall merit, taking into account pertinent caveats.

41
Form 22: Overall Summary Evaluation of the Target Evaluation
Taking account of all the preceding analyses, provide your overall summary judgment of the target evaluation by
placing checkmarks in the appropriate cells below.

PRINCIPLE RATINGS

Poor Marginal Moderate Good Excellent

A. Systematic Inquiry

B. Competence

C. Integrity/Honesty

D. Respect for People

E. Responsibilities for
General and Public Welfare

Overall

SUPPLEMENTARY COMMENTS: In the space below state any general points, caveats, etc. that readers should
keep in mind as they consider the preceding bottom-line judgments.

42
Form 23: Attestation
To the best of my/our ability, the above analysis, judgments, syntheses, and overall assessment provide a sound
evaluation of the target evaluation based on the American Evaluation Association’s 2004 Guiding Principles for
Evaluators.

Name(s) (print):

(sign): Date:

(print):

(sign): Date:

(print):

(sign): Date:

(print):

(sign): Date:

(print):

(sign): Date:

43
Reference

Joint Committee on Standards for Educational Evaluation (1994). The program evaluation standards. Thousand
Oaks, CA: Sage.

Endnotes
1
American Evaluation Association, 2004. Guiding principles for evaluators. www.eval.org/Guiding%20Principles
2
. Stufflebeam, D. L. (September, 2001). Guiding Principles Checklist. Kalamazoo, MI: The Evaluation Center,
www.wmich.edu/evalctr/checklists
3
The AEA Task Force that developed the original 1995 Guiding Principles included William Shadish, Dianna
Newman, Mary Ann Scheirer, and Christopher Wye. The 2004 revision of the Principles was prepared the 2002 and
2003 AEA Ethics Committees, whose collective membership included Gail Barrington, Deborah Bonnet, Elmima
Johnson, Anna Madison, Doris Redfield, and Katherine Ryan.
4
. For each principle and all five combined cut scores for any evaluation that scored less than 40 would be
considered a poor basis for conclusions and decisions. An evaluation that scored 93 to 100 would be judged
excellent, so long as it passed all the minimum requirement standards. A score in the 80 to 92 range would seem to
provide a quite good basis for conclusions and decisions, again assuming that no minimum standard was missed. An
evaluation that scored in the marginal 40 to 59) and moderate (60 to 79) ranges would not be considered good, but
also not disastrous if no minimum requirement checkpoints were missed. Summative metaevaluations should seek
to credit evaluations that fall in the excellent range and discourage use of those that fall in the poor and marginal
range. Formative metaevaluations should seek to help strengthen evaluations, especially those that fall in the
marginal and moderate ranges.

44